Financial-advice

Why You Should Pay For The First Date

It always surprises me the number of women who still shudder at the idea of paying for a first date. Despite relative progression in gender equality, it would appear that picking up a check, particularly on a first date, remains linked to a man’s character: the more chivalrous you are, the greater your feelings for your partner, the more you are willing to fork out for a date. We don’t still believe this, do we?

A recent survey found that 77 per cent of people in heterosexual relationships, believe the man should pay for the first date. Perhaps surprisingly, this notion is more common among men than women.

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As we continue to labor for the dissolution of sexist and gender-biased practices – why does this one remain so firm? Not only does this antiquated habit persist, women and men are encouraged to perpetuate the ritual.

It comes down to a few basic rules: courtesy, fairness and financial responsibility. Despite an increase in the number of female breadwinners, men still believe it is their duty to pay for their date – and frankly, that’s not fair to either party. If you’re earning more than your partner, you shouldn’t expect to avoid the check just because you have a vagina. Men: don’t consider your wallet an extension of your manhood or a display of your dominance.

However, where the politics of check-paying gets tricky, is when one of your couple can’t afford to splurge on the finer things in life. The lesson: don’t go to a fancy restaurant if you can’t afford it. If your man insists, you’re welcome to go – as long as you make it clear that it’s not within your means. This rule applies to both men and women. If your finances are running low, get creative with your dating ritual and do something free or inexpensive. A date shouldn’t be about impressing your partner with flashy gestures – it should be about getting to know each other, deciding whether or not you like the person enough to pursue them.

A similar rule applies to ordering wine. If you’re sharing a bottle, always consult with your partner before ordering. A friend of mine – a student at the time – once went on a date, where her partner ordered a really expensive bottle of wine. To be fair, she offered to split the bill at the end of the night, only to find that the wine he ordered was way out of her price range. It’s not always easy to speak up on a first date, but it should be considered courteous, that if your choose the bottle to share – without consensus of the people you’re dining with – you should be the one to pay for it. If you’re splitting the bill, pay for the wine separately.

Do you have any rules for paying on a date? Who picks up the check on your dates?

April 21, 2015

5 Bad Shopping Habits To Quit Now

We all know somebody who uses shopping as a kind of pick-me-up. Perhaps, we are that person. Most of us are at least familiar with the rush of bagging a bargain. However, needless spending is not only bad for your bank balance, it is part of a larger problem of excessive consumption and waste in the first world.

Yet, it seems like a bit of a catch-22 when women are constantly the target of advertising and shiny editorials encouraging them to invest in a new wardrobe every season, even every week. It is not surprising then, that a few of us develop some pretty bad habits trying to keep up with trends. Here are a few things to keep in mind to curb your spending and maintaining a manageable wardrobe.

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Buying a new outfit for every event

You don’t need a different outfit for your friend’s wedding, your work christmas party, and your birthday. Stop worrying about being seen in the same outfit twice (Oh, the shame!) and think about your wardrobe economically. Transform that little black dress with inexpensive accessories, try a clothing rental service, or borrow from a friend.

Buying an outfit without anywhere to wear it

Have you ever seen an amazing evening dress – on sale – and just had to have it? Meanwhile it sat in your wardrobe as the weeks rolled by, then the months, and it just never felt like the appropriate time to bring it out. Next thing you know, it’s winter and your summer dress is no longer seasonal. By the next year, that dress is hideous and you hate it. Don’t get suckered by a sale ladies! Only buy things you need and don’t waste money on things you don’t.

Buying with the intention of returning

“If I don’t like it when I get home, I can always bring it back.” Perhaps this is true. But that also takes time out of your day, not to mention that many stores only exchange a bought item, not refund your money. I have a rule, that if I’m not certain – I won’t buy it immediately. I wait, and if I still want it after a week – I’ll go back and buy it. Yes, sometimes this means you will miss out on your size or the item will sell out, but on the plus side, you still saved money!

Buying clothes or shoes that don’t fit

Again, if it doesn’t fit – it isn’t meant to be. The chances of you wearing something that doesn’t fit are very slim. Just wait, save your money, and something else will come along that is more worthy of your body and its price tag.

Buying things out of your price range

Remember that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie needs to buy her apartment back, only to realize she has no savings… but owns $40,000 worth of shoes?! Let this be a cautionary tale: you never know what financial emergencies are just around the corner – don’t spend the last of your savings on a new bag.

September 30, 2014

How to Prepare Financially and Emotionally for Divorce

Richelle Hampton, author of The Divorce Navigator, looks at practical ways you can prepare for divorce both financially and emotionally.

Standing on the precipice of separation and divorce can be daunting to say the least. Emotionally you feel as though you have just stepped onto the world’s largest roller coaster ride of fear and anger.

Anger is the most commonly recognised emotion in the separation process. It is a known fact that much of the pain and grief with separation is caused by escalating anger. The pain and suffering both parties are experiencing as a result of the relationship breakdown often transforms into a traumatic, costly legal battle.

Don’t allow your anger to take control of the situation. It may seem that you are thinking clearly, but anger and rage do not make you smart – the very opposite occurs. Your higher brain functions do not operate when you are angry and you will be at risk of making decisions that will be harmful to you in the long term, extend your separation process, and cost you more financially and emotionally.

Learning to deal with your anger constructively is one of the most important things to be gained from separation.

What is not as obvious when a relationship breaks down is the enormous amount of fear both parties experience, the emotion beneath anger. Just about everyone involved experiences some level of fear because of the uncertainty surrounding their future, of not having the answers or being in control of their lives – the fear of the unknown.

Facing your fears is an important step. Visualise the worst that can happen, make preparations for it, write down all the things you can do to ensure the situation never develops, take a step forward and know that you will be okay. By understanding that you fear a worst-case scenario you are in the position to make plans to avoid the situation.

If you do not learn to confront your fears regarding separation you will find it extremely difficult to make rational decisions and your financial future may be impacted.

The most important step you can take in your separation process is learn to deal with the emotional aspects of this process in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with the legal issues involved. There is no place in the legal system for negative emotions.

How you act and react during your separation proceedings has a lot to do with how well you come out of it.

To financially prepare for divorce find out where you and your partner have bank accounts, life insurance policies, share certificates, and important documents.

Obtain statements and balances for bank accounts, plus copies of Wills and trusts. The more information you have, the better. If you do not know much about your family’s income, outgoings, and assets, it is important to find out immediately. Keep copies of financial documents in a safe place such as a safety deposit box or with a close relative or trusted friend.

Ensure you understand your financial information and the financial implication of any decisions you make. Costly mistakes can be avoided by seeking the advice of a financial expert such as an accountant or financial advisor. You will be in a stronger position to make informed decisions regarding your financial future.

Keep your expectations realistic as your finances will be tight. Don’t go into separation thinking you are going to be able to maintain your present lifestyle.

If you have joint bank accounts/loans/mortgages, consider changing the account withdrawal procedures so that you both have to sign as joint signatories to withdraw any funds. You might also consider limiting or cancelling any redraw facilities.

Consider opening a bank account under your own name and with a different bank. Have your salary and any financial gifts or inheritances post-separation transferred to this account.

You need to bring yourself up to speed on the costs of running your household. If you haven’t been the one who looks after the monthly outgoings, look through bank statements – see how much you pay in monthly rent or mortgage; check utilities and other regular outgoings.

Begin to assess (or reassess) the job market and brush up on your marketable skills. Start researching courses that will improve employment opportunities or that will further advance your career and earning capacity.

Being educated and prepared will help reduce the stress and fear of the difficult process ahead.

Taken from The Divorce Navigator: How to save tears, time and money, a must-read guide that contains practical advice, help and tips with budgets and checklists for anyone considering separation, about to separate or in the midst of a divorce.

November 28, 2013

Q&A with MyBudget’s Tammy May

Most of us have some sort of financial stress in our lives, whether it be credit card debt, mortgage repayments or wanting to save for the future but finding it unattainable. Tammy May has always wanted to change that by helping people take control of their finances. In 1999, the South Australian businesswoman founded MyBudget when she was just 22, and today, the company manages over $425 million of salaries and employs around 250 people. Tammy has won both EY Young Entrepreneur of the Year and South Australian Business Woman of the Year awards, and this year made the BRW Young Rich List.

SHESAID chatted with Tammy to get her best money saving tips, financial advice for women in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, and how she fits being a mum into her busy day.

Congratulations on making the BRW Young Rich List! Tell us about your journey from starting MyBudget to becoming one of Australia’s most successful businesswomen today?
Thank you. Certainly when I started MyBudget I didn’t have any grand plans to become a successful business person. I actually started MyBudget to help people, to assist people to eliminate the financial stress in their lives and improve their financial position. That being said, deep down I always thought that by doing something so profoundly good for people that it would grow and become a success. I am very proud of the team I have working with me. They truly care about our clients and come to work every day to make a difference. MyBudget wouldn’t be where it is today without them.

Definitely the journey has had some tough times, for example it has been difficult educating the market about what we do and the difference we make in the community and in people’s lives. Despite the challenges we have faced I have always remained unwaveringly passionate about what we do and been dedicated to improving our clients financial positions.

Describe a typical working day for you…
I normally drop my kids off to school in the mornings on my way to work. I find this is a good  time to have a chat to them about their day ahead and any after school activities they might have on.

After I arrive at work, I get myself organised for the day, starting with a daily 15 minute huddle with my senior management team. Generally I spend most of my day in meetings relating to marketing and communications, and sales (depending on the day I may also have finance and human resources meetings) or strategy sessions relating to the company in general. In between meetings (and sometimes during) I eat lunch at my desk (I try to eat healthily where I can). Occasionally I will go out for a lunch meeting.

After the working day is finished (normally 6pm) I go home to have dinner with my partner and kids, or go to watch their sport and try to get to the gym when I can.

Your business helps people get out of debt and take control of their finances. What’s the first thing someone should do if they’re in debt?
Budgeting is the most important tool for taking control of your finances, and getting out of debt. The first thing you should do is to create a budget – this will give you an idea about where, when and how much you’re spending. It will show where you can trim spending and free up some cash to pay back your debts faster. Make sure you include all of your income (if your income varies, use an average from your ‘year to date’ figure on your payslip) and everything that you spend money on. And most importantly, make sure your budget is flexible.

Life doesn’t always goes exactly according to plan, so you need to make sure you leave a buffer for unexpected expenses – this is the only way that it will be realistic and work for you.

Do you think women are taking more of an interest in their finances these days?
I personally think women are becoming more independent every day and part of that independence involves understanding and taking control of their finances. Our statistics also show that women are 80% more likely to be the one looking after the finances in a relationship. From paying the bills, managing the cash flow to organising finance. It tends to be the responsibility of the woman. So yes, I believe they are taking more of an interest – which is fantastic.

What is your best piece of financial advice for a women in her 20s/30s/40s/50s:

* 20s – Try to avoid using credit for bad debt (e.g. shoes, groceries, holidays etc). Use a debit card instead. Avoiding credit cards in your 20s will set you up with good spending habits for life.

* 30s – Begin paying extra repayments on your mortgage. Both consistent and ad-hoc additional repayments such as bonuses and tax returns work to reduce the principal on your mortgage faster. The earlier in the loan term you begin making additional repayments, the greater the benefit in terms of time and money saved will be.

* 40s – Take stock of your financial goals. Review them regularly. Your goals now will be different than they were in your 20s and 30s. Seek professional advice to ensure you are on the best path for financial freedom in your later years.

* 50s – Make adult children pay board. If your grown-up child is working and still living at home then rent should be paid either as a flat rate or percentage of their salary. Establish rules to lighten any friction that may come later.

Most of us are saving for something, whether it be a holiday, a car or a house. What are your top money saving tips to achieve your goals
Make sure you have regular savings in your budget. Putting your savings in a separate bank account, that you cannot easily access is a great way to avoid the temptation to draw on them. If you want to increase the amount that you can afford to put aside for savings, you need to look for ways to cut down your spending.

You could:

–        Shop around for cheaper rent, phone, and insurance deals.

–        Plan your meals, buy in bulk and compare prices at the supermarket. Growing your own veggies can also save you some money.

–        Eat breakfast at home and take your lunch to work instead of buying. Use the coffee machine at work instead of buying take-away coffees.

–        Make your own cleaning and beauty products – there are some great websites out there that provide recipes.

–        Have a BBQ at home instead of going out, and ask your guests to bring a plate.

–        Car pool or take public transport to work instead of driving – this will cut down your fuel and parking costs.

However you choose to go about it, budgeting is key.

What is your advice to someone wanting to start their own business today?
Make sure you are passionate about your business idea. It’s that passion that gets you through the tough times and allows you to keep going. It’s also important to surround yourself with positive like-minded people. Where possible try to seek out the absolute right people to assist you and experts who know more than you do. My last piece of advice is that you should have a business plan, even if it’s just written on a piece of paper. 

Who inspires you both in the business world and beyond?
I am inspired by many different people. On a personal level, my Nana truly inspires me. She is strong, funny, loving and kind. Professionally, I am inspired by Dale Carnegie and his principals. So much so that myself and many of my executive team have undertaken the Dale Carnegie Training Course. He was truly an amazing man! Certainly also business people like Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Oprah and many more.

November 27, 2013

5 Tips For First Home Buyers

You’re ready to buy your first home, but are you making a smart decision, or buying your dream home just to impress your friends?

Jeremy Cabral, publisher of Australia’s leading home loan comparison website Finder.com.au, says, “Purchasing your first home is an exciting time and it’s easy to get distracted by other people’s opinions or feel pressured to purchase a place that will impress others or make them envious of you.

“The reality though is that first home buyers need to consider the cost of keeping up with the Joneses and whether they can afford the repayments on a bigger property in a more highly desirable area. Rushing into a decision like this can end up costing first home buyers gravely down the track.

“First home buyers are always tempted to buy their dream home first. When actually, they should consider something more in line with their current budget to get them on the first rung of the property ladder and then buy bigger once the equity on the place builds up,” he says.

Mr. Cabral says first home buyers should be aware of the following crucial factors before signing up to a home loan that may be out of their budget:

1. Budget higher than the official interest rates

Although interest rates are currently at a remarkable low in Australia, variable rate home owners are encouraged to calculate the budget for their home loan 2% higher than the actual cash rate. This will safeguard them against unexpected interest rate changes that will occur down the track.

2. Economic factors

The economy is uncertain now more than ever and jobs are not as secure as they used to be. We can no longer simply rely on the annual bonus or pay increase to cover home loan debt.

First home buyers should not factor in bonuses or expected increases to their salary when calculating their home loan budget.

3. Get an estimate of how much you can borrow

Historically couples relied on the sole earner to pay the mortgage. Those days are long gone it would seem as couples now rely heavily on both incomes to cover the home loan payments.

A borrowing power calculator is essential to ascertain how much first home buyers can borrow. Couples should base their home loan budget on one or at most 1.5 incomes to allow for any changes to their income that may occur.

The first step first home buyers should take before selecting their desired home is to calculate their budget. Finder.com.au has launched calculators to simplify this process for consumers:

1. First, they need to calculate how much of their income they can spend on a property. Use this home loan calculator. 2. Then they need to calculate the mortgage repayments required for the loan amount and what they would have to pay each month Try this mortgage repayment calculator.

4. Don’t take the maximum loan amount

Regardless of whether the lender offers the maximum amount, buyers should be steered by their budget and borrow less than what is offered. Consider your repayment terms rather than seeking approval for the maximum home loan.

5. Home loan market growth

The home loan market has grown considerably in the last number of years. This spells good news for first home owners but can seem confusing. It’s important to take your time, compare all the home loan options available to you before signing on the dotted line.

What is your best tip for first home buyers?

July 11, 2013

6 Smart Money Moves


Unlike days gone by, no truly savvy Aussie gal waits for a knight in shining armour to come and whisk her away. Yep, harsh, but true. Sure, we would all love a debonair millionaire to just rock up at the next party but sometimes life simply doesn’t happen like a Melrose Place episode!

The reality is, whether you are rich, poor, or in between, the person that you are going to have to rely on the most to keep you from the poor-house is yourself. Don’t panic though all it takes is some dedication and planning, a little creativity and some street smarts.

Here are 6 easy tips to get you on your way.

  1. Get together a Budget and Spending Plan

    By establishing a budget, you are taking a major step to identify untapped resources that can be directed to new investments. Until you feel that you have a true handle on spending , ask yourself, do I need this or do I want it?

  2. Pay Yourself First

    You need to work out the amount of money you need to have in your nest egg, before you start investing. Work out what you need each month if a “worse case” scenario occurs. You can do this by multiplying your net income by three or having about two months worth of ’emergency funds’ saved. The excess can then be safely used for investments.

  3. Get Started Today

    With an understanding of money management and investing, you can set financial goals and create a strategy to meet those goals.

  4. Get Professional Financial Advice

    Preparation and planning is the key to reach your financial goals. The sooner you start planning, the more thankful you will be further down the track.

  5. Be Your Own Money Expert

    Most of us kind of glaze over when it comes to money talk, simply because we don’t speak or understand the jargon of the economists or financial community. Why not demystify the jargon and educate yourself? Dip into the online money sites or start with The Money Book, by Annette Sampson for a good all round introduction. Or read the all time classic, The Richest Man in Babylon, for a truly inspirational kick-start.

  6. Funds: The Basics

    For busy women who haven’t the time or skill to study and pick their own stocks or property investments, mutual funds offer professional management and ease of mind.

January 23, 2002